Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Gomukhasana, Cow Face Pose
Sanskrit
गोमुखासन / Gomukhāsana
Pronunciation
goh-moo-KHA-suh-nuh
Meaning
go: “cow”
mukha: “face”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Gomukhasana (goh-moo-KHA-suh-nuh) removes stiffness and pain in the hip joints and lower extremities. The position of the arms stretches the shoulders, armpits, triceps, and chest, therefore relieving stiff shoulders and neck, while at the same time strengthening the back muscles and toning the arms. It also relieves sciatica by relaxing the piriformis muscles.

Some Yogic studies have indicated that practicing yoga postures can help to ease the conditions of piriformis syndrome and sciatica.

Muscle Focus

Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose works on several muscles such as

  • The Shoulders (Deltoid)
  • Core (Abdominal Muscles)
  • Arms (Biceps)
  • Back (Trapezius and Rhomboids)
  • Glutes

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Helps to relieve digestion-related issues.
  • Helps to get rid of toxins from the lower abdomen.
  • Improves pelvic floor muscles functioning.

Benefits of Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose

1. Lengthens Spine

Gomukhasana helps to elongate the spine and correct bad posture.

2. Reduces Anxiety and Stress

The deep stretch of the hips, shoulders, chest, and triceps in Gomukhasana helps to release tension from these areas, which in turn reduces anxiety and stress.

3. Stimulates Kidneys

The twisting and stretching nature of Gomukhasana helps to stimulate the kidneys.

4. Strengthens Muscles

The position of the arms in Gomukhasana requires strength and flexibility, which results in a stronger back, hips, ankles, shoulders, thighs, inner armpits, triceps, and chest.

5. Deep Stretch

Gomukhasana provides a deep stretch for the hips, ankles, thighs, shoulders, armpit, chest, deltoid, and triceps. This pose is excellent for those with chronic knee pain as it opens up the hip joint.

6. De-Compresses Lower Spine: (During Folded Variation)

When folding forward in Gomukhasana de-compresses the lower spine, which in turn decompresses the disks and helps to clear any blockages in the hip joint.

7. Helps to Minimise the Pain Caused by Sciatica

The position of the legs in Gomukhasana helps to stretch and release the tension on the sciatic nerve, which can help to minimise the pain caused by Sciatica.

8. Improve the Range of Motion in the Shoulder Joint

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint that has a very large range of motion. The position of the arms in Gomukhasana helps to improve this range of motion.

Contraindications

Avoid this pose if you have a calf muscle tear. If you have varicose veins avoid putting direct pressure on the veins; you can do the pose if the varicose veins are in the center of the calves but not if the veins are in the sides of the calves. If you’re tight in the hips, especially when the rotators are jammed, one can sit on a block or a blanket and then cross their legs and stack one knee above the other in Gomukhasana. For the arms, use a strap if the fingers don’t reach to clasp.

Variations

  • Ardha Pawanmuktasana (half wind relieving pose)

Preparatory Pose

  • Shashankasana (Rabbit Pose)
  • Marjarasana-Bitilasan (Cat and Cow Pose)
  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • Be sure to press down through your tailbone and sacrum as you draw your knees in, which will help lengthen your lower back.
  • If you have any lower back pain, be sure not to hyperextend (arch) your back in this pose. Instead, keep a soft curve in your spine. You can also place a folded blanket or pillow under your head for support.
  • You may find it helpful to focus on your breath throughout the pose, inhaling deeply into your belly. This will help you to stay present and relax deeper into the pose.

How to do Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose

  • We will begin by coming into the supine (resting on the back) lying position.
  • Place your palms on the floor beside you and inhale both legs up into your chest. Clasp your hands around your shins, ankles, or feet (depending on flexibility) and tuck your chin into your chest.
  • Press down through your tailbone and sacrum as you pull gently with your arms to draw your knees in closer to your chest.
  • You should feel a gentle stretch along your back and sides. Hold for four to eight breaths or for 30 seconds.
  • To release, exhale as you lower your legs back down to the floor.

Mental Benefits of Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose

  • Calms the mind
  • Eases anxiety and stress
  • Helps to release tension

Bottom Line

Gomukhasana is a great pose for improving flexibility, strength, and range of motion in the hips, ankles, thighs, shoulders, armpits, chest, and spine. It also provides a deep stretch for these areas. Gomukhasana is an excellent pose for those with chronic knee pain as it opens up the hip joint. The position of the arms in Gomukhasana requires strength and flexibility, which results in a stronger back, hips, ankles, shoulders, thighs, inner armpits, triceps, and chest. Gomukhasana also helps to calm the mind and ease anxiety and stress. Try incorporating Gomukhasana into your yoga practice today.

1 sources
  1. https://nhr.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=681724&article_id=3812670&view=articleBrowser&ver=html5
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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